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2 more women found hanging from trees in India, report says

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May 30, 2014: Members of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union shout slogans during a protest against a gang rape of two teenage girls in Katra village, outside the Uttar Pradesh state house, in New Delhi, India.AP

Two more women have been found hanging from trees in India's Uttar Pradesh state, and another has claimed she was gang-raped by four police officers, the latest developments in a crisis over women's safety that has gripped the Asian nation, Sky News reports.

Last month, two girls, aged 14 and 15, were gang-raped and lynched in the impoverished Katra village, triggering outrage across the nation and leading India's national women's rights body to call for the state government to resign over the crisis.

In Thursday's incident, a 19-year-old was found hanging from a tree in a village in Morabad district, Sky News reported.

"The body was strung up using the girl's dupatta (long scarf)," senior police superintendent Ashutosh Kumar said. "The FIR (first information report) was lodged by the girl's brother against unidentified persons. He has alleged the girl was murdered."

The discovery comes one day after a 45-year-old woman was found hanging from a tree, with her family claiming she had been raped and murdered.

Her husband said she was singled out for attack as she returned home in Bahraich district as punishment for trying to halt the sale of alcohol in her area.

A district superintendent said four men have been detained in the case.

Meanwhile, the woman who alleged she was gang-raped by police officers said the crime happened inside a police station as she was trying to secure her husband's release. She claimed she was attacked when she refused to pay authorities a bribe.

Ashish Gupta, a state inspector-general of police, pointed out to journalists last month that 10 rapes are reported every day in Uttar Pradesh, which has 200 million people and is India's most populous state. Gupta said 60 percent of such crimes happen when women go into the fields because their homes have no toilets.

Official statistics say about 25,000 rapes are committed every year in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people. Activists, though, say that number is just a tiny percentage of the actual number, since victims are often pressed by family or police to stay quiet about sexual assaults. The stigma of rape runs deep, with many women accused of rape still forced to answer questions about their sexual history, the provocativeness of their clothing and whether they may have invited the attack.

Rape victims can face years of whispers behind their backs. They and their siblings can have trouble finding spouses. Question marks can taint their families for a generation.

Indian officials, who for decades had done little about sexual violence, have faced growing public anger since the December 2012 gang rape and murder of a young woman on a moving New Delhi bus, an attack that sparked national outrage.

The nationwide outcry led the federal government to rush legislation doubling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalizing voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women. The law also makes it a crime for officers to refuse to open cases when complaints are made.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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